More Self-loathing Incompetence From SMH

Michael Smith has brought my attention to this article written by SMH’s Latika Bourke on 13 April 2017. Predictably, it’s the usual self-loathing plop that we’ve become accustomed to no longer paying money for:

Australia should follow the British Conservative government’s lead in enshrining its aid budget in legislation to prevent it from being diminished in an appeal for votes, leading campaigners say, with the OECD listing Australia as among the countries recording the biggest declines in aid for the world’s poorest people.

The OECD’s latest rankings show Australia slipping another spot to 17th out of 29 countries – meaning small countries like Switzerland and Luxembourg are contributing a greater portion of their budgets to helping the world’s neediest compared to Australia. 

A country’s aid budget is generally measured as a proportion of a nation’s gross national income (GNI). Under Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s cuts to the budget, Australia’s total contribution fell to just over $3 billion in 2016, or 0.25 per cent of GNI. This was below the average of 0.32 per cent of GNI recorded by the 29 OECD countries last year.

Now, let’s do a quick fact check on Latika’s work. Here’s what Australia spent on foreign affairs and economic aid in 2015-16 (see page 5-13) – about $5.5 billion:

FA 2015-16

Now here’s what is likely to be spent for 2016-17 (see page 6-13) – about $6.7 billion:

FA 2016-17

PS: did you notice how the budget will be completely blown out from $6.1 billion to $6.7 billion?

Now let’s go one level deeper and zero in on foreign aid:

For 2015-16 (see page 5-14):

FA 2015-16

And for 2016-17 (see page 6-14):

FA 2016-17

Again: did you notice how the budget will be blown out from $3.9 billion to $4.3 billion?

Perhaps if Bourke bothered to read the budget papers instead of listening to ‘leading campaigners’, she’d have had the right numbers and could have found something more productive to write about.

That aside, don’t you just love the extreme left? On days such as Anzac Day, they’re telling us that we’re being ‘too nationalistic’; but then – without even a hint of awareness of their pathetic hypocrisy – tell us that ‘small countries’ like Switzerland (that happen to be far more advanced and richer than Australia) are ’embarrassing’ us in the foreign aid to GNI stakes.

In writing her story, I also wonder if Bourke factored in the amount Australia spends under the UNHRC Resettlement Program (of which Australia is one of only 37 ‘taking’ members) in properly resettling refugees:


Hello? Switzerland? Luxembourg? It’s Australia calling from the top 3 here: where the bloody hell are you?

PS: I say ‘properly resettling’ (i.e. spending real money) because the left seems to think that refugees flooding into neighbouring countries to sit in squalid camps somehow counts as ‘resettlement’ – to the point where they appear to think that Turkey is apparently the most generous country on Earth!

Yes, Turkey.

When you add up all the resettlement costs and ongoing welfare payments that Australia provides (see here for example), they would comfortably dwarf the ‘metric’ of choice being used by Bourke and SMH as an excuse to self-hate Australia – which, in any event, amounts to little more than piffle-lite as shown above.

With gormless journalism like this, I’m not surprised that Fairfax print is fast going out of business and that people have little trust in the media.

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42 Responses to More Self-loathing Incompetence From SMH

  1. Graham

    Is it feasible to legislate it as a percentage of the budget surplus?

  2. Myrddin Seren

    Payments to International Organisations go up by about $100 million in both planning periods ?

    That’s a lot of money for Julie Bishop to funnel to the Clinton Crime Family, International Planned Parenthood and the UN to buy her a post-politics sinecure.

  3. jupes

    I’m with Latika.

    Giving more money to Gaza Hamas is great value for the Australian taxpayer.

    Makes me feel good about Australia.

  4. Tim Neilson

    PS: I say ‘properly resettling’ (i.e. spending real money) because the left seems to think that refugees flooding into neighbouring countries to sit in squalid camps somehow counts as ‘resettlement’
    But not when we did it. Remember the furore over Australia’s free food, shelter and medical care refugee camps (even before we reintroduced offshore ones)? Anything short of giving them free fully serviced bricks and mortar for their sole occupancy as a reward for gatecrashing was apparently a crime against humanity.

  5. duncanm


    thank you for this ongoing series of reports.

    They are a blinding light into the dark recesses of government waste and agitators.

  6. Dr Fred Lenin

    If elected my party will increase foreign aid to $1 million a year including donations to foreign organisations and foreign affairs department . This generous amount will help, to encourage other countries to get off their asses and work for a crust . Within Australia we will also cut funding to them yartz quangos communist unions to $100 per year for the lot of these sterling groups . This will create a small surplus which will be used to wreduce the interest we pay on the money borrowed by the national green laboral oarty to throw about to help their careers . The first of many measures to restore sanity to governments . We will of course be trumped by the usual suspects but when we drag them out of the public trough they will be powerless.socialism dies without other peoples money

  7. Farmer Gez

    Forget about the foreign aid, check out the Government Superannuation Benefit. 6.5 to 9 billion in the same period. Dirty thieving pricks.

  8. Andrew

    My guess is Switzerland is not having to spend as much repelling the SIEVs that we managed to attract during a short-lived “push factor” surge. Whatever we spend on OSB should be added back.

  9. A Lurker

    If Ms Bourke was truly desperate to help the poor and needy of third world countries then by rights, she should sell her house, leave her job, cash in her bank accounts, lob over there, and help out at the coal face – otherwise, her comments come across as tired old Australia-bashing.

  10. Dr Fred Lenin

    Never mind the foreign aid ,what about our home grown. Terrorist enablers in th meeja , a few hundred millions of money borrowed in our name and given with no strings to fauxfacs to keep lakiter in highly paid “work” inventing “news” to discredit the terrible extreme right wingers who at]re thwarting u,n,communust unelected world government . Further increases to alpbc funding are also badly needed ,the number of “journalists ” employed would lift the economy Hugely .

  11. Journos like Bourke don’t ever seem to bother about researching the effectiveness of foreign aid.

    For years evidence has emerged – including from foreign aid recipients – that this largesse is commonly counterproductive in assisting expansion of these economies.

    But this is typical of the Left – evidence is always secondary to ideology.

  12. Dr Fred Lenin

    Oh ! lurker you used a really dirty word , COAL FACE ,shudder ,you oughta be ashamed helping to destroy the climate and spitting in Gaias face ” , you is norty boy ” ,said IACC boss .the bus driver said .

  13. Bruce of Newcastle

    I wonder how much longer Ms Bourke will have a job?
    Today Fairfax is up 7% because a second private equity fund has made a bid.
    That makes two vultures circling.
    Vultures tend not to much mind the state of the carcass.
    Those 125 recently lost journo jerbs may be just the opening bite.

  14. Tim Neilson

    To be fair, “Australia’s total contribution fell to just over $3 billion in 2016” isn’t totally false, given the figure in the government papers of $3.35 billion for 2015-16.
    Just deliberately stretching the truth as far as it could go.
    And I agree with the rest of the analysis as to why that’s completely misleading in context.

  15. Oh come on

    And not just Switzerland but Luxembourg! Doesn’t that have the highest GDP per capita in the world? Or at least it’s right up there due to the ridiculously high number of freakishly rich royals and pseudo-royals and various assorted Eurotrash types that live there. They’re loaded.

  16. Oh come on

    We should be getting aid from them, dammit. Someone gotta pay for our NDIS and giving everyone with a lisp a house and stuff.

  17. Sir Red Robbo

    What clever person was it who described foreign aid in words to the effect of, “Money taken from poor people in rich countries to be stolen by rich people in poor countries”?

    The aid budget should be cut with immediate effect and we should only be helping those who: are close to us geographically and in values; those who we may need to rely on strategically at some time for defence; and for the occasional assistance in time of unforeseen catastrophe.

  18. Boambee John

    Just include the costs of looking after “refugees” in Australia, and the aid budget will be world leading! 😀😀😀

  19. Texas Jack

    Funny how for all the millions Hywood apparently earns, and the millions in shareholder value destroyed over the years, it’s never occurred to anyone in management at Fairfax that allowing all those ‘independent’ journos spew out crap, more crap, and endless reams of lefty crap, might be a really bad commercial idea. I mean Maccas tries hard to operate on the apex of the bell curve of the fast-food taste spectrum for good commercial reason. Why Hywood thinks he’s a genius while allowing the mastheads to serve up only LGBTI/Greens approved vegan crap sandwiches is beyond me, but who gives a shit and I doubt too many cats will cry in their G&T’s when we learn of the eventual shut down.

    Anybody have friends have family who can’t bring themselves to support Fairfax, whether at the newsagent or on-line, running, sitting, flying daytime of the dark of night…? I know heaps. It’s gotta be something that’s obvious to management.

  20. duncanm

    It’s gotta be something that’s obvious to management.

    please see other thread regarding NAB job ad.

    Its obvious to normal people like us, but not to many who control the levers.

  21. Nathan

    Bourke by name, berk by nature.

  22. Nerblnob

    On days such as Anzac Day, they’re telling us that we’re being ‘too nationalistic’; but then – without even a hint of awareness of their pathetic hypocrisy – tell us that ‘small countries’ like Switzerland (that happen to be far more advanced and richer than Australia) are ’embarrassing’ us in the foreign aid to GNI stakes.

    Given that I work and travel in many of these “example” countries mor eoften than teh average Aussie breast-beater, I love to point out that:
    Pretty much all have compulsory military service (Sweden has just announced it’s re-introducing it)
    Most are monarchies, and quite happy to remain so.
    None had a minimum wage until recently.
    Those that have oil (Norway, Denmark) are exploring for it as fast as they can. (In Switzerland I participated in a well directionally drilled from land under Lake Geneva/Lac Leman. It was such an Environmental Disaster that the locals didn’t even know it was there except that the operator took groups of villagers and schoolkids around the site.)

    Never mind crapping on about public transport – they have excellent roads, including many tunnels and bridges, seriously disruptive engineering. Victoria’s $1bn non-tunnel would be business as usual for these countries and would have been done long ago.

    So yes, there are plenty of ways we could be like them.

    To get back on topic:
    When it comes to immigration and refugees, you will hear the phrase “Australian system” more and more often in Europe these days.
    Norway is particularly alarmed about the new hordes in the streets. and , while they never joined the EU – largely to stay in control of their own fisheries – most have told me they wished to be further apart. NATO is more important to them.

  23. Confused Old Misfit

    I’m with the farmer in this “Government Superannuation Benefit. 6.5 to 9 billion in the same period.” Insufferable, kleptocrats!

  24. Marcus

    Tim – I reckon she was clearly talking about calendar year 2016, not EOFY June 2016. The story was written in April 2017. Either way, she’s miles away from reality.

  25. Marcus

    Yeah, the government super thing is a real mystery. See more on this from my budget article here (in case you missed it):

  26. Nerblnob

    And of course, they all fly the flag proudly on national days.

    Quasi-socialism worked for a time in these places because of social and civic cohesion.

    Their idea of “fairness” was that you all contribute. It doesn’t sit well with these people to see people arriving who only take. That’s something Australian “fairness” (i.e Gimme Gimme Gimme, to quote those most illustrious Scandis) campaigners need to get into their thick noggins.

  27. C.L.

    None of the expenditure makes any long-term difference.
    The recipient nations are toilets with no intention or capacity to modernise or advance.
    And by the way, if it’s so important that these nations make progress towards prosperity and enlightenment, why do we enable and naturalise all the able people who abandon them?

  28. Squirrel

    The new owners of Fairfax might find less aggravating ways of attracting eyeballs to their real estate listings.

  29. Gab

    Latita Burke has no real knowledge of these things, no insight, no intelligent arguments. She’s just prattling on with the usual lefty boilerplate crap.

  30. Nerblnob

    why do we enable and naturalise all the able people who abandon them?

    The able people are heading for USA & Europe.

    Australia gets third draft pick at best, if they even bother to pick.

  31. Rabz

    Bluddee hell – I had no idea Equatorial Guinea was such an economic powerhouse.

  32. Nerblnob

    Bluddee hell – I had no idea Equatorial Guinea was such an economic powerhouse.

    Shitloads of oil, small population (for Africa).

    Usual African corruptokleptocrats running the place but if anyone points to them they can just say “Evil Big Oil” and point at Exxon.

    However, they are doing better than many, (but still receive foreign aid from Spain).

    Read this if you can be bothered. Very pro-Foreign Aid but has some useful stats.

  33. Serious question: Just how stupid is this Latika Bourke?

  34. Nerblnob

    She is smart enough to know that facts don’t matter to her audience. (Such as remains)
    It’s the Vibe.

    They can’t count anyway.

  35. iain russell

    Walk the streets of Melbourne or Sydney (if you dare) and witness the Third World in Australia. We lift more than just our load, Latika.

  36. Baldrick

    Bourke is ex-ABC. They can’t help themselves.

  37. john constantine

    Fairfax wants to market property to millionaire socialists who ride the debt fueled crony wave of Australia beating the economic cycle by borrowing money to import vast unskilled tenant herds to do all the jobs robots will do in five years, then the imports can form vast client herds for big government welfare agencies.

    Daily circulation of fairfax is down to public service subscriptions, libraries and free copies left in the school staffroom, but the disposable trophy house money demographic in Australia is the rabid millionaire socialist couple, both with good government jobs and this convoy sails on fairfax lines.

    Just doesn’t pay for it.

  38. Fulcrum

    I was under the impression that over the past centuary, food aid, medical aid and financial aid from the west made the democratic nations the primary donors in the world.

    Someone is spreading b/s. I will apologize advance if its me.

  39. Dr Fred Lenin

    Pouring moneyinto dysfunctional sociities is a complere waste of taxpayerfunds .
    Look at the billions poured into the indigenius Industry all we get is a lot more redheadedblue eyed shit stirrers . The same happens in foreign aid for instance why should we psy a few grand for a water tap inavillage when their own government spends millions on un and ambassadors in other countries .how many taps does the ambassador and staff at the corrupt u.n.communist HQ cost per year? cease this nonsense now ,we are actually borrowingmoney to give away let the bleeding hearts spend their own money .(there is no way they will do that thhey wont evenbuy fairfax stuff ,they prefer the free alpbc paid forby other people .

  40. Roger

    Bourke is ex-ABC.

    Then she was clearly very silly to move to Fairfax.

    Be that as it may, is it heresy to ask how much good foreign aid actually achieves in the first place? Apart from emergency food supplies, a steady flow of incoming aid must surely promote corruption and stifle initiative, preventing the very development which might lift peoples out of subsistence living and poverty.

    I recall that James McAuley, founding editor of Quadrant, wrote an essay examining this topic sometime in the 1960s/70s. It was reprinted in The Conservative Reader (ed. Russell Kirk; Viking/Penguin) in the 1980s.

  41. Oh come on

    Why would anyone want to move from the ABC to Fairfax? Isn’t the ABC where all Fairfax journos want to get jobs when they grow up?

  42. Snoopy

    Would someone be kind enough to let @latikambourke know that her genius is featured at the Cat?

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